The LA Clippers won their fifth straight game after defeating the Orlando Magic 105-96 Wednesday night at STAPLES Center. Clippers SG J.J. Redick led the team with 22 points, adding 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and a blocked shot. PG Chris Paul had 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. C DeAndre Jordan had 10 points, 20 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers also shared his thoughts on the feud between Chris Brown and Soulja Boy – something his players were much less interested in discussing.
Top Performer: Redick did most of his damage early, but he played a complete game, and he’s been focusing on the little things more lately. One game after grabbing a season-high 7 rebounds against the Heat, Redick put up his second-best rebounding effort of the season against the Magic. Prior to Sunday, Redick didn’t have a 5-rebound game all season. His blocked shot came on a 4th quarter fastbreak following Paul’s 5th turnover of the game, and Redick hit a three at the end of the sequence to give LA much needed breathing room down the stretch.
X-Factor: The Clippers continue to be more aggressive during the winning streak, and a part of getting back to that has been getting to the free throw line. Redick and Paul combined to make 10 of LA’s 18 FTs, and that was with Redick being charitable and missing back-to-back FTs late in the 4th quarter. Orlando made only 12-of-18 from the line as a team.
Major Moment: Following a steal and dunk by Magic backup wing Jodie Meeks, LA trailed 77-76 early in the 4th quarter. At that point, Clippers backup big Marreese Speights hadn’t even attempted a shot in the game. But Redick found him in the corner for a three, and after some hesitation, Speights let it fly and hit it. That keyed a 7-0 run that became an extended 16-8 run, and the Clippers never trailed again after Speights made his first shot. Speights scored all 13 of his points in the final period.
Key Lineup: Orlando held PF Serge Ibaka out for the first time this season, and Magic head coach Frank Vogel went with a starting lineup of PG Elfrid Payton, SG Evan Fournier, SF Aaron Gordon, former Clippers PF Jeff Green, and C Nikola Vucevic. Vogel may not want to use that lineup again after that unit was outscored 20-11 in 9 minutes, compiling a net rating of -56.4 while struggling at both ends of the floor. LA’s starting lineup of Paul, Redick, SF Austin Rivers, PF Luc Mbah a Moute, and Jordan got plenty of run, outscoring the Magic 51-36 in 22 minutes while compiling a net rating of 43.1.
The Definition: The Clippers are now 49-30 without Blake Griffin under Doc Rivers, and they get two more days off to prepare for the Los Angeles Lakers. For the third year in a row, the Clippers are at 27-14 at midseason; in Rivers’ first season as head coach, the Clippers were 28-13 at midseason. This is LA’s 2nd-longest winning streak of the season.